December 19, 2011

Giving Thanks During the Holiday Season


At any time of year, giving thanks is an appropriate sentiment. During the holiday season it is especially fulfilling to recognize the people and companies that have supported you of late, particularly during this time of transition as healthcare organizations manage multiple reform initiatives, including migrating to 5010 and adopting ICD-10.

Successfully achieving ICD-10 implementation requires skill, knowledge and input from many different specialists and disciplines. Combined with 5010, it will bring monumental change affecting people, processes and technology.

While resistance to change is a normal response, it sometimes can prevent us from being thankful for the benefits that change will bring. Yes, ICD-10 has had some opposition – the AMA recently announced its plans to “work vigorously to stop ICD-10,” and while their position is understandable, the intent of healthcare reform is to improve care dramatically. Realizing that goal will require continued support, commitment and focus from the entire professional community.

Thanks to Many

As healthcare organizations continue to move forward with the new coding system, we want to recognize the many organizations, groups and social media websites that have supported the ICD-10 transition. We appreciate their contributions to support change and minimize risk as providers migrate toward the new system. It is the combined efforts of these groups that move us all toward better internal processes that improve the quality of care.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandated the change to 5010 by Jan. 1, 2012 and to ICD-10 by Oct. 1, 2013. We are thankful for their role in supporting a more secure environment for electronic transactions and advancing a system that accommodates new procedures and diagnoses with the promise of benefits to follow.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed dedicated resources to support a smooth transition. From guiding the overall policy and regulatory changes – including the hosting of conference calls and producing materials and training to help providers, payers and vendors understand the changes – they have been instrumental in helping everyone navigate government healthcare reform initiatives.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) made the connection between preparedness and success and has been in lockstep with inpatient and outpatient health information management professionals, including coders, during the transition. The level of training and resources offered to their user groups speaks to the magnitude of change coming due to ICD-10 and demonstrates their commitment to quality education and leadership.

The Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMMS) recognizes the need for members of the general healthcare community to have tools to assist them in preparing for the transition and has promoted the sharing of many success stories. Through modeling and other decision support systems, organizations can identify, evaluate and select technology to meet organizational objectives.

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) is improving healthcare by keeping members “in the know” through industry changes and the challenges they face. As organizations increase their use of electronic transactions, WEDI is a real asset to healthcare stakeholders in an evolving health information technology environment.

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently said it’s going to fight implementation of the new code sets. The professionals who know the most about the human body today can have unprecedented access to information and deliver on the intent of healthcare reform by using data to provide better care. We understand their position and appreciate the pushback, because it keeps everyone thinking about better ways to deliver care and how to stay focused on the best process improvements and ensure that appropriate education is delivered.



Other Support Recognized

There are many other entities – including those supporting insurance agencies and revenue cycle, social media sites, data aggregators and industry websites promoting unique content (such as ICD10monitor) – that have provided support during this time of transition, not to mention all the vendors who support end users and the industry as a whole. We are thankful to them for keeping the conversation going and ensuring that issues and opportunities remain at the forefront for healthcare professionals.

Different objectives and focus certainly will change the list of organizations, websites, publications and agencies to whom thanks should be given. The important thing is not to judge the list, but rather to share our thoughts and talk about our efforts during this holiday season.

It Takes a Community

Successful ICD-10 adoption requires full community support. With all the work that already has been done, moving toward compliance must result in positive outcomes for individuals and institutions. Healthcare reform initiatives collectively can provide benefit only by ensuring that those within the industry are working together and proactively using data to improve quality in the healthcare delivery system.

Collectively, we already have done tremendous work. However, there is a great deal left to be done. With 5010 almost behind us, let’s give thanks for what we have accomplished and what we will accomplish in the future as we continue to migrate and adopt the ICD-10 code sets.

About the Author

Veronica Hoy, MBA, is vice president of SOURCECORP HealthSERVE Consulting, Inc. Veronica has been an operating executive for 10 years, focusing on providing strategic leadership and direction to healthcare professionals and organizations. She has more than 20 years of healthcare experience in business process outsourcing, accounts receivable management, coding, billing, release of information, consulting and systems implementation.

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Read 141 times Updated on September 23, 2013